Jun 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden: Russia bounty issue shows Trump "doesn't seem to be cognitively aware"

Joe Biden used President Trump's denials about intelligence on reported Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan to question the president's mental ability during a campaign appearance on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "He talks about cognitive capability. He doesn't seem to be cognitively aware of what's going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues — and then forgets it — or he doesn't think it's necessary that he need to know it."

  • "So the idea that somehow he didn't know or isn't being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that's the case. And if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that's a dereliction of duty," the former vice president added.
  • "I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive ability with the cognitive ability of the man I am running against."

Why it matters: Biden is trying to turn the tables on the president, who has taunted Biden about misspeaking on the campaign trail.

  • The attack comes as the Trump campaign plans to pivot its messaging to focus on the claim that Biden's mental faculties are diminished, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported.
  • A growing number of Trump's advisers say their best shot is to convince voters that Biden won't really run the show if elected.

The big picture: Biden took questions from reporters on a range of topics — from coronavirus to his future running mate.

  • On his running mate: He said the selection has moved into the "hard vet" phase and noted that "a number of women of color" were under consideration.
  • On whether he's been tested for coronavirus: He said he hasn't because he hasn't shown any symptoms, but will be "relatively soon."
  • On statues: Biden said "the government has a responsibility to protect" statues of George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
  • On his polling lead: "It’s much too early. We have a lot more work to do."
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